Crypto Exchange Exploit: US Charges Engineer with Money Laundering

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Summary of the Article

  • The U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York has charged Shakeeb Ahmed with money laundering related to an exploit on a Solana-based protocol.
  • This is the first criminal case involving an attack on a smart contract operated by a decentralized exchange.
  • BlackRock CEO Larry Fink recently praised Bitcoin as an ‘international asset’ and Bitwage has halted USDC payments for US residents due to ‘strict regulations’.

Charges Against Shakeeb Ahmed

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) announced in a July 11 press release that it is pressing charges against Shakeeb Ahmed, a senior security engineer at an unidentified company, for money laundering in connection with the exploit of an unnamed Solana -based protocol in July 2022. This marks the first time the United States government has brought charges in connection with a smart contract attack on a decentralized exchange. Ahmed allegedly exploited the smart contract for his own gain and laundered funds through multiple accounts to conceal them from law enforcement.

Blackrock CEO Praises Crypto

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink recently compared crypto assets to “digitizing gold” and praised Bitcoin as an “international asset” during an interview with Bloomberg News this week. He also noted that institutional investors are beginning to embrace cryptocurrencies, citing their ability to diversify portfolios and hedge against inflation risks posed by traditional markets.

Bitwage Halts Payment Services

Bitwage has halted all USDC payments for US residents due to “strict regulations” imposed by local authorities. The company stated that it was unable to comply with these regulatory requirements without significantly impacting its services or incurring excessive costs, leading it to suspend operations temporarily until further notice.

Valkyrie Refiles Spot-Bitcoin ETF Application

Valkyrie Digital Assets refiled its spot-Bitcoin ETF application this week, naming Coinbase as its surveillance partner for monitoring market manipulation activities within the fund’s underlying trading pairs. The filing follows news last month that Valkyrie was withdrawing its claim after failing to receive approval from regulators due to concerns about market manipulation and lack of investor protection mechanisms within cryptocurrency markets .

NEAR And Ethereum Scalability Solutions

NEAR Protocol and Ethereum have both released solutions aimed at tackling blockchain scalability issues such as high fees and slow transactions times in recent weeks, though their approaches differ significantly from one another. NEAR uses shards — separate chains running concurrently — while Ethereum is relying on Layer-2 technologies such as Optimistic Rollups which keep most data off-chain while maintaining network security through periodic verification checks .